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Holiday Designs

New business specializes in handmade items for every holiday
by: Jeff Spiegel April Backwell and Kimberly Reuther are the owners of Holiday Designs, located at 262 S. Broadway.

Several years ago, Kimberly Reuther, 40, and April Backwell, 36, were in a bind. While their sons were members of a local Cub Scout pack, the tradition of selling candy bars was no longer successful enough to pay for summer camp.

Desperate for a new idea, the pair decided to begin making wreaths for the kids to sell. With just 20 youngsters hitting the streets, the pack sold 550 wreaths in the first year.

'It took on a life of its own,' Reuther said. 'And other people started asking about them, so we started a company to sell them.'

Within the Cub Scout pack, Reuther and Backwell were limited in what they could do with the funds they raised. By opening a store, the pair could make money and help other groups interested in fundraising with the same model.

So far, Boy Scouts Troop 186 and Cub Scouts Troop 186 as well as Clackamas River Outdoor School and Eagle Creek Elementary are selling the wreaths. Thriftway and True Value in Estacada also are selling the wreaths.

While the Christmas wreaths are obviously a big hit, Reuther and Backwell understand that for this to be a sustainable model, they must expand their inventory.

'We're working on trying to do wreaths for the entire year, whether it's Valentine's day, Easter, the Fourth of July or welcoming a baby,' Reuther said. 'We have some irons in the fire to make this sustainable, and our intentions are that next year we'll get there.'

A big part of that sustainability will stem from how much business they can generate in their new home at 262 S. Broadway, next to the Estacada Food Bank.

The company was officially licensed on Oct.14 while the storefront opened the day after Thanksgiving, and yet walk-ins and sales are still relatively sparse.

'Not a lot of people know we're here, but people are definitely curious,' Reuther said. 'It's funny to see people look into the window.'